Dear How Does Crack/Cocaine Effect Someone,
Cocaine and crack are toxic, addictive, psychoactive substances that have significant physiological and psychological consequences for users. There are various ways in which these drugs have a direct negative impact on its users, which are listed below. However, it is also important to consider the effects cocaine and crack users have on their families, communities, workplaces, and society. For example, domestic violence and random violence are often fueled by cocaine or crack use. And children are often the victims of cocaine- or crack-using parents, suffering from prenatal exposure or parental abuse.
For those who may not be aware, cocaine is a central nervous stimulant, the most powerful one found in nature. Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant, Erthroxylon. It is most often found in the form of cocaine hydrochloride, a white, crystalline powder. Crack is a smokable, rapidly reacting form of cocaine base, which is processed from cocaine hydrochloride. It usually appears as off-white chips, rocks or chunks.
Cocaine and Crack can affect people in the following ways:
- Cocaine in all of its forms stimulates the central nervous system. Initially, use of these drugs reduces appetite and makes the user feel more alert, energetic and self-confident – even more powerful.
- Because the central nervous system becomes more activated, the heart will beat more rapidly and blood vessels will begin to constrict. This results in the demand for a greater supply of blood. But the narrowed blood vessels are unable to deliver the volume of blood demanded, which significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular incidents or strokes. In some cases these effects have proven fatal.
- With high doses, users can become delusional, paranoid, and even suffer acute toxic psychosis.
- As the drug’s effects wear off, a depression (often called a “crash”) can set in, leaving the user feeling fatigued, jumpy, fearful, and anxious.
- Crack causes the same effects as powder cocaine. However, because it is smoked the onset is more rapid and is of greater intensity. Basically this means that the effects may be significantly exacerbated – depression can be deeper and more profound, and the likelihood of cocaine psychosis after binging on crack may be greater and notably more intense.
- Crack use is associated with incidents of hyperactive violence by users.
Other consequences of cocaine/crack use can include:
- Dependence and addiction
- Neurological incidents, including strokes, seizures, fungal brain infections, and hemorrhaging in the tissue surrounding the brain
- Pulmonary effects, such as fluid in the lungs, aggravation of asthma and other lung disorders and respiratory failure.
- Increased risk of traumatic injury from accidents and aggressive, violent or criminal behavior.
- Sleeplessness, sexual dysfunction, diminished sense of smell, perforated nasal septum, nausea and headaches.
- For intravenous (IV) cocaine users, there is an increased risk of hepatitis, HIV infection and endocarditis.
- For addicts, whether they smoke, inject or snort, promiscuous sexual activity can increase the risk of HIV infection.
- Fetal cocaine effects include premature separation of the placenta, spontaneous abortion, premature labor, low birthweight and head circumference at birth, greater chance of visual impairment, mental retardation, genitourinary malfunctions, and a greater chance of developmental problems.
Between the level of addictiveness associated with cocaine/crack, as well as all of the negative side effects, TeenHealthFX strongly recommends against any cocaine/crack experimentation or use. If you see yourself as either abusing or being dependent on cocaine or crack, FX recommends that you seek help immediately. There are many inpatient and outpatient treatment programs available specifically targeted towards drug abuse and dependence.
If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist or appropriate treatment program you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact the National Institute on Drug Abuse & Alcoholism for more information on drug abuse and treatment options at 1-888-644-6432.